Transparency or bust
The regulatory overhaul proposed by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is essentially “a big wink to Wall Street,” says Michael Mandel in BusinessWeek.com. It doesn’t even meet the “minimum standard of improving transparency,” which is the only way banks are going to recover from the mortgage crisis. Aside from greater oversight for lenders—the “one clear improvement” proposed—Paulson is pushing mere “rearrangements and clarifications” masquerading as “regulatory efficiency” boosts. Efficiency and “financial innovation” can be good, but Paulson’s plan “belongs in a fictional world where financial institutions do a good job in regulating and monitoring themselves.” In this world, they don’t.
Satellite radio just another medium
The Sirius-XM satellite radio merger “looks like, well, a monopoly,” says the Los Angeles Times in an editorial. But it doesn’t act like one, and the Justice Department was right to clear the deal. Today’s consumers look at satellite radio as just another “alternative to local radio, the Internet, and whatever they can load on their iPods and phones.” Antitrust regulators should consider the same “expansive approach” where other “digital technologies are bulldozing the barriers” between various media—TV and newspapers, for example. But that’s not the same as a “free pass to consolidate.” Requiring Sirius-XM to open its service to other device makers is a “reasonable” concession.